Behind the sensational murder of 62-year-old BSP leader-cum-businessman Deepak Bhardwaj allegedly lies an even more sensational story involving a fortune worth several hundred million, a killer son, a lover whom both the father and the son shared, a lawyer with political ambition, and an ungodly godman.
File photo: Nitesh Bhardwaj, son of murdered BSP leader and real estate tycoon Deepak Bhardwaj
Deepak’s younger son Nitesh had got him murdered, the Delhi police claimed on Tuesday, in what was possibly the most expensive contract killing in the Capital’s recent history. Rs. 5 crore had been offered for the hit, although only Rs. 50 lakh changed hands, the police said. Nitesh was arrested on Tuesday afternoon.
Deepak was officially the richest candidate in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections with declared assets of more than Rs. 600 crore.
Nitesh’s decision to kill his father was triggered by his and his mother’s apprehension that Deepak was going to divorce her and marry a woman half his age and give her a substantial chunk of his property, the police said. The woman had relationships with both the father and the son, they said. She lived in Greater Kailash and was an employee in the family business, said police sources.
Lawyer Baljeet Singh Sehrawat — a lawyer whom Deepak had once refused to pay for his services and who needed money to fight a local election — was also arrested on Tuesday afternoon for helping the son kill his father. One of his associates was detained. Nitesh allegedly paid Rs. 50 lakh as advance to the lawyer, who in turn paid Rs. 3 lakh or Rs. 4 lakh to Pratibhanand, the absconding godman who helped arrange the contract killers and gave them Rs. 2 lakh as advance.
Contract killers Purushottam Rana and Sunil Mann, driver of their getaway car Amit Kumar, owner of the Skoda car used in the crime Rakesh Kumar, and an out-of-work commercial pilot Rakesh Malik have already been arrested.
Nitesh, a Canadian passport holder, studied information technology in the Purdue College, Indiana, and lived in the US and Canada for nearly 10 years. He returned when his father promised to set up a business for him in Delhi - a promise which was not kept.
"Nitesh has admitted that he was deeply disturbed by his father's attitude towards him and the family. He was not even allowed access to the farmhouse [ironically, named Nitesh Kunj after the son] where Deepak was later killed. It was around five to six months ago that he had decided to get rid of him," said Chhaya Sharma, DCP (south).
He then roped in Sehrawat, a property dealer-cum-advocate who wanted to contest the local elections from south Delhi's Mahipalpur. In return, the lawyer wanted Nitesh to pay for his election campaign.
However, in January, Sehrawat changed his mind and agreed to settle for a Rs. 5 crore payment, said DCP Sharma. "Sehrawat was in touch with Pratibhanand. He knew him, and did most of the talking with the godman. He even stayed at Pratibhanand's house," she said.
The godman, who was in need of money to set up his own ashram after being thrown out of many ashrams, allegedly approached his ex-driver Rana. The driver roped in Mann and the others to execute the killing.
The police said Nitesh's nervousness made them suspicious. "He said he had accidentally broken his mobile phone on the same day his father was killed," DCP Sharma said. He was also apparently planning his escape to Canada.
"He even refused to give us access to another number which he uses," said Sharma. Nitesh had finally broken down during his interrogation.